From the Editor’s Desk

nick2016

Nick Ducharme

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Happy New Year, and welcome back to Memo to Members! This will be one of our most dramatic, high-octane years in chapter history as we continue to gear up to host the 2018 Technical Communication Summit this May.

Our first meeting of the new calendar year, fittingly, packs quite a punch. MadCap Flare know-how is a highly desired resume addition in today’s job market, and we have a program planned to deliver exactly that! Check out our synopsis below, and also click here to RSVP.

MadCap Flare Presentation

Bethany Aguad and Darci Kingry from Fiserv will be giving a presentation on Thursday, January 18 at 6:30pm at Riptide Software: Intro to MadCap Flare. MadCap Flare is a single source content management tool used to publish content across a variety of channels and devices. The presentation will start with an overview for those who are new to the tool, but will also include a question and answer section for more experienced users. MadCap has kindly sent some swag, so we will be having a small giveaway for attendees!

The presentation will cover:

  • MadCap Flare Overview
  • MadCap Flare User Interface Elements
  • Best Practices and Tips for Improving Your Content
  • Q&A

We will be serving chicken tenders from nearby Huey Magoo’s and drinks as refreshments. We will also be providing the opportunity for attendees to attend remotely. All attendees will also receive a copy of the slides after the presentation and link to the meeting recording.

To cover the costs for the food and remote presentation, we will be charging the following rates for this meetup:

  • $6 for STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter Members (part of Society for Technical Communication membership, not membership of the Meetup group)
  • $12 for all other attendees

Meet the Presenters

Both presenters work for Fiserv on Lending Solutions documentation.

Darci Kingry

  • Technical Writer for Fiserv Lending
  • Certified MadCap Advanced Developer for Flare
  • Creates and maintains online help, release notes, user and technical guides
  • Previously led technical teams in user experience, UI design, and icon design for a single Lending product

Bethany Aguad

  • Technical Documentation Specialist for Fiserv Lending
  • A. and M.A. in English: Technical Communication
  • Society for Technical Communication
    • Orlando Central Florida Chapter Treasurer
    • Scholarship Committee Member

Looking forward to seeing you there, this Thursday, 1/18/2018!

Nick Ducharme
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

 

The President’s Corner

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

By: Alex Garcia
President
(Orlando Central) Florida Chapter, STC

president@stc-orlando.org

Hi everyone. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season. Here at the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC, we are embarking on our most important calendar year, in well, about 18 years—Orlando is hosting the 2018 STC Technical Communication Summit Conference and Expo at the Hyatt Regency Orlando on International Drive, May 20-23, 2018.

About four months ago, your Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC leadership team put together twin proposals to present at the Summit – one for the pre-conference Leadership Day and the other a technical session during the conference itself. Well, it is my distinct honor as your President, to announce that BOTH of our proposals have been accepted.

In our presentations, we wanted to showcase the incredible effects that our Mentoring program has had on creating new leadership within the Chapter. Four of your Chapter’s STC Fellows agreed to “sit out” presenting at their hometown Summit in order to “coach” four of your young Chapter leaders. The following two abstracts represent the combined effort of these eight Chapter luminaries:

Young Leader Coach
Alex Garcia
President, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
W.C. Wiese
STC Fellow
Active Membership Coordinator
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Bethany Aguad
Treasurer and Co-Manager, Education Committee, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Mike Murray
STC Fellow
Chapter Historian
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Crystal Brezina
Secretary, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Karen Lane
STC Fellow
Chapter Director
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Nick Ducharme
Communications Manager and Newsletter Editor, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Dan Voss
STC Fellow
Co-Manager, Education Committee
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

From a personal perspective, I am honored and humbled by being accepted to present not once, but twice at an international conference. It has been a decade since I traveled to my last STC Summit as a student, so I am doubly thankful for the opportunity that speaking at this year’s Summit affords me. Registration is now open at the following link. Definitely consider taking advantage of the special 65th Anniversary rate, available through 31 January!

 

Technical Session

Fueling Your Future: STC Experience Builds Professional Leadership Skills (50 minutes)

Bethany Aguad, Crystal Brezina, Nick Ducharme, & Alex Garcia
The collaboration of experienced leaders with newer practitioners fosters leadership skills as the newer practitioners advance their careers and prepare to take on management roles in their companies and profession. Four young leaders detail their development from student members to Orlando Central Florida chapter leaders. Mentored by experienced professionals, these four “Rising Stars” describe the key roles they now hold within the community and how the chapter’s flourishing student mentoring and leadership development programs accelerated their growth into positions of responsibility. The presentation with interactive question and answer breakout includes a take-away handout, along with an index to an online toolkit of techniques and proven strategies to support newer members or less experienced practitioners as they prepare to assume leadership positions.

The topics covered in this session include:

  1. The student mentoring program as a model for workplace mentorship
  2. Veteran leaders training new leaders: Training entry and middle-level practitioners to assume leadership roles
  3. Annual Leadership Retreat as a key to strategic planning
  4. Fueling volunteerism with fun: integrating social activities into Administrative Council meetings

After the formal panel presentation, informal interactive discussions maximize the take-away value of the session by enabling participants to explore ways of adapting the leadership development approaches described in the session to their own STC communities and their professional careers.

 

Leadership Day Session

Forging the Future: Tips and Tools for (Re)Building Your STC Community (90 minutes)

Bethany Aguad, Crystal Brezina, Nick Ducharme, & Alex Garcia

As host chapter for the 2018 Summit, the Orlando Central Florida (OCF) Chapter welcomes its STC colleagues with an informative interactive panel presentation followed by a progression-style working session at Leadership Day. Four of the community’s young chapter leaders—our “Rising Stars, all “graduates” of the community’s flourishing student mentoring program with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and all now holding key leadership positions in the chapter—share tips and tools for sustaining and building an STC community.

The panelists collectively give a 30-minute overview presentation covering the 10 community-building and leadership initiatives listed below. They then pair up to host two 15-minute rotations of a progression-style “Take-Away Talk”—an interactive discussion in which the speakers field audience questions on the 10 OCF programs described in the presentation and distribute a take-away handout, along with the index to the online toolkit described above.

The topics covered in this session and the speakers who will address them are as follows:

  1. Student mentoring program with UCF (Bethany Aguad and Nick Ducharme)
  2. College scholarship programs (Aguad and Ducharme)
  3. Leadership development program (Aguad and Ducharme)
  4. Active membership initiative (Alex Garcia and Crystal Brezina)
  5. Fund-raising strategies (Garcia and Brezina)
  6. Communication forums: website, newsletter, social media (Aguad and Ducharme)
  7. Growing virtual outreach to the statewide Florida STC community (Aguad and Ducharme)
  8. Strategic planning: annual Leadership Retreat (Garcia and Brezina)
  9. Fueling volunteerism with fun: social setting for Administrative Council meetings (Garcia and Brezina)
  10. Using STC’s Community Achievement Awards (CAA) program to build your community (Garcia and Brezina)

On average, 3 minutes of the overview panel presentation will be devoted to each of the 10 topics. The exact timeline will vary slightly depending upon the nature of the topic, but the total duration of the overview will not exceed 30 minutes. The four panelists will alternate in addressing the topics.

In the follow-up Take-Away Talks, Bethany Aguad and Nick Ducharme will host an interactive discussion on Topics #1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 above, and Alex Garcia and Crystal Brezina will host an interactive discussion on Topics #4, 5, 8, 9, and 10. The two rotations will run 15 minutes each, enabling the audience to interact with the presenters for all 10 topics. The idea of the informal interactive discussions is to maximize the take-away value of the session by enabling participants to explore ways of adapting the OCF programs described in the session to their own STC communities.

If You Missed the Last Meeting

By: Bethany Aguad
Treasurer and Co-Manager, Education Committee
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
treasurer@stc-orlando.org

Members, old friends, and family came together on December 21st for a Holiday Celebration. The mafia room at Buca Di Beppo provided the perfect ambiance for a get together to catch up, relax, and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food and excellent company as the perfect way to end 2017!

The View from Campus

A Semester of Change

Nick Mina

By: Nicholas Mina
FTC Treasurer

Early on in the 2017 Fall semester, I found myself sitting in a room full of students whom I had never met and professors I had never taken. It was the first Future Technical Communicators (FTC) meeting of the semester, and my first experience with the club (or any club, for that matter). I was warmly welcomed, but still cautious. I feared being seen as an unprepared student who had not taken any steps to immerse himself in the professional world of Technical Communication. What I found, however, was that the students around me were in the same position that I was in; they were at the crossroads of Student and Professional, wondering which direction to take.

Until I stepped into that meeting, I was your average college student. I went to all of my classes, I did my assignments on time, and I studied for my tests. I had plenty of time left over to grab coffee with friends, go to the gym, and of course, binge watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones. I did not feel behind in my profession, nor did I feel out of the loop. I was in college, and I was doing everything that was expected of me… or so I thought. In a short period of time, I became a regular member of FTC and joined the leadership board as Treasurer. I became a member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and obtained a mentor through the chapter. This chain of events would change my entire outlook of, and experience with, the Technical Communication program at UCF. All in one semester.

Through my involvement in FTC and STC, I’ve learned what it means to be a professional within the technical communication field. Prior to my membership, I would awkwardly stutter through the explanation of what I was studying and what I wanted to do whenever a friend would pose the question. The reason for this was simple. Before my involvement in FTC and STC, I had never met someone who actually worked in the field. Within weeks of joining, however, I was exposed to professionals at all different stages in their careers. Student interns, writing department managers, and my mentor, who recently retired from Lockheed Martin after a forty-five year tenure. Each of these professionals have been able to provide relevant and eye-opening advice pertaining to the Technical Communication field, and have motivated me to start redefining myself as a professional.

Perhaps the most eye-opening advice I received this semester came from my mentor in two parts. 1.) If you’re not good at it, don’t waste your time and energy trying to do it, and 2.) The recipe for success is useless without one key ingredient: experience. These pieces of advice have allowed me to focus my energy on parts of the technical communication field that I have skills pertaining to, and have motivated me to start my career now (as opposed to struggling to get it off the ground after graduation). Through advice like this from my mentor, and even students in FTC, I’ve learned the importance of being a student professional, rather than a professional student.

The 2017 Fall semester played a pivotal role in my efforts to transform myself into a professional. The insight I’ve received and the connections I’ve made can all be attributed to one thing: involvement. I could have ignored the emails about the September FTC meeting, but I decided to take a step out of the comfort bubble of college and attend the meeting. The change I’ve experienced as a professional has been astounding, and I feel that my newfound perspective of the technical communication field will pay off greatly in the long run.

From The Editor’s Desk

nick2016

Nick Ducharme

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

The holiday season is upon us! If you follow gift-giving traditions and still have some purchases left to make, might I suggest using our Amazon pass-through link? All you have to do is click the link (conveniently available on the right-hand sidebar), then shop on Amazon like normal! For no extra cost to you, Amazon will give a percentage of your purchase back to STC (Orlando Central) Florida.

Thank you, generous clickers. 🙂

 

You probably saw several emails about our upcoming holiday social. The booking deadline was today because we had to provide a headcount to the restaurant, Buca di Beppo. I look forward to seeing those of you who are able to join us!

 

I’d like to conclude my intro with a small personal announcement that I’ve hinted at in the past: In 2018, I’m going to begin passing the Memo to Members torch to a worthy successora certain rising star within our chapter that I believe has a lot to bring to the role. This transition will be gradual over the remainder of the chapter year, from now through the 2018 Summit in Orlando.

I’ve always viewed the role of Editor as a great stepping stone for technical communicators looking to take their chapter involvement to the next level. February will be my three-year anniversary as your Memo to Members Editor, and I’d just like to say that I’m very grateful for this opportunity. It has provided me with excellent exposure to the many facets and roles of STC(OC)F chapter leadership. I vacate this position with not only an eagerness to try out other chapter responsibilities, but also a wish that all who follow in my footsteps will find the experience just as enriching and rewarding as I have. Everyone deserves such chances.

 

Anyhow, I’ve taken up enough of your time. There are other articles in this edition, and we’d best get to ’em. (I also have some baked goods to go consume.) Read on, dear communicators!

Nick Ducharme
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

If You Missed the Last Meeting

Crystal Brezina

By: Crystal Brezina
Secretary
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
secretary@stc-orlando.org

On Thursday, November 16, the Orlando Central Florida chapter of STC gathered at Perkins on University Boulevard for their monthly meeting.

Less than a day after retiring, W.C. Wiese enlightened the OCFL chapter on his 45 years of experience in technical communication. Beginning his career in 1972 after studying chemistry and journalism, W.C  accumulated decades of experience working for Lockheed Martin, retiring as a communications manager for a joint venture company. He explained how to grow and prosper in a large organization, and described highlights and memories of his career. He described the ideal way to plan for retirement, starting from the entry level, and divulged his own plans for retirement before answering audience questions.

 

W.C. Wiese publicly reflected upon his career. Many who attended have been with him almost every step of the way, as both friends and colleagues.

W.C. is normally the man behind the camera. This time, he got to bust out some great photogenic poses instead. He can be seen here gesturing dramatically whilst reminiscing upon his career path.

W.C. shared several colorful career highlights, from a certain car racing club to his STC involvement and beyond.

Attendees were given a sneak peak at what’s next for W.C. Wiese. Congratulations on your retirement, W.C.!

The View from Campus

By: Alexandra Engrand
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

On December 15, 2017, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric and a minor in English – Technical Communication. In the meantime, I had been finishing up my last two classes, preparing to move out of my dorm room, and looking for a job.

The question I get asked the most by everyone, including my fellow classmates who are also graduating, is “Are you excited?” The answer was, yes, I am. I am very excited. This is a dream that has taken me a lot longer than I ever thought it would, and I was finally only weeks away from realizing it. But I was also a little scared. The question “What now?” kept  circling my mind, alongside  others such as “Where am I going to live?” and “Will I be able to find a job?” These are all questions I’m sure every graduate in the history of college has asked themselves. Questions that, if given enough time, will eventually be answered.

The job search has been difficult, not that I expected it to be anything else. My Writing and Rhetoric degree prepared me to create pretty much any kind of content. It is not only a bachelor’s degree (required by almost every job I have looked at); it also allows me to be flexible in my genre of choice, even if I don’t have any prior experience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really qualify me specifically for writing technical documents. For that, I have my minor.

However, upon looking at hundreds of different job ads, I have learned that my time at UCF could not have prepared me for one key requirement for my future career path: years of experience.

Many of the jobs I looked at during my late-night searches required at least a few years of prior experience. Currently, I have a few months of hands on experience with technical documentation, thanks to a summer internship at the Kennedy Space Center I was lucky enough to get. If I include the work I did for my minor, which took me two semesters to complete, I have maybe a year of experience. This is not ideal for someone looking to go into a field like technical writing, where experience is key, but it is better than nothing. However, I have found a way to approach this dilemma.

For those who are like me, and don’t have a lot of experience in technical writing or any other career of choice, I have found that it is best to look for jobs that don’t specify a required (or even preferred) number of years of experience. I focus more on the job description, to see what exactly I will be doing, and then check the qualifications section to see what kind of candidate they company is looking for. I have found that there are actually quite a few companies looking for tech writers that don’t seem to be too concerned with the amount of experience potential candidates have. So, if I think the job sounds like something I could or would like to do and I meet most of the qualifications, I will apply for it. This technique has proved very useful, and I have found there are many jobs that I do qualify for, even with the little amount of experience I currently have.

As far as where I’m going to live once I graduate, I do have options. I might end up living with my friend and current roommate somewhere here in Orlando, or I might go back home until I figure out something more permanent. Ultimately, where I live will depend on where I work. I know that I will face many challenges once I leave school and start my career, but I am confident that I can build on what I have learned in order to succeed.

From the Editor’s Desk

nick2016

Nick Ducharme

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

With the holidays fast approaching, let me start with a friendly reminder to please use our Amazon pass-through link (available on the right sidebar) while shopping! It’s a great way to give a little back to the chapter without costing you anything extra at all.

This episode is full to bursting with content from several talented and dedicated individuals in our chapter! It includes a friendly membership renewal reminder from our fearless leader Alex; a new column from UCF’s Future Technical Communicators president Andy; a couple articles related to our thriving mentoring programs from Emily, Bethany, and Alexandra; and more!

In case you missed it, here is the topic of this month’s chapter meeting:

40 Years in Tech Comm: An STC Fireside Chat

On the day of his retirement from Lockheed Martin, the venerable W.C. Wiese has agreed to give us a fireside chat on his 45 years in tech comm. W.C. Wiese is retiring with 45 years’ experience in aerospace marketing support and program communications. Mostly recently, he was communications manager for a unique joint venture company formed by Lockheed Martin with German and Italian defense contractors.

A member of STC for 30 years, W.C. is an STC Fellow and has served as STC treasurer and director at large. He previously served as president of STC’s Orlando Chapter following a 5-year tenure as chapter treasurer. He has presented at 13 STC Summits. Recognitions include a Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award, two Lockheed Martin Comet Awards, a PR News Platinum Award, and multiple awards in the Florida Technical Communication Competition.

Please note that this meeting will take place at the Perkins on University Boulevard instead of our usual IHOP. To RSVP and learn more about this Thursday’s presentation, please click here!

Many thanks,

Nick Ducharme
Manager, Communications Committee
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

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The President’s Corner

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

By: Alex Garcia
President
(Orlando Central) Florida Chapter, STC

president@stc-orlando.org

Hello everyone and welcome to the combined Fall edition of President’s Corner. Personal and professional deadlines precluded me from submitting an article in October, but here we are. November is shaping up to be a most interesting month in the Garcia household: we are moving to the itty-bitty southeast Orange County city of Belle Isle, FL. This municipality surrounds the Conway Chain of Lakes, and features 10 public parks within its 5 square mile radius. Soon enough, I’ll be decorating my new home for Christmas.

Lake Conway and Little Lake Conway in Belle Isle, FL

Speaking of which! As the holiday season starts ramping up, it’s time to renew your STC membership! First, you choose your membership type, and then your Chapter. Please, please, please, don’t forget to add your Orlando Chapter (as we are listed on the renewal interface) to your membership when you renew. Chapter renewal is not automatic; you must opt in each year.

NOTE: you MUST add to cart after selecting Orlando Chapter for your selection to be accepted.

This year, STC made some changes to the levels of membership and their pricing, as follows:

  • Gold Member (Dues – $395.00)
     Quickly becoming one of STC’s most popular categories, Gold membership includes access to all Professional & Academic (formerly known as Classic) member benefits, plus 10 printed issues of Intercom magazine, free registration for five webinars, additional 20% discount on all online courses, free access to the Salary Database, Early Bird rate for the Summit until 1 March, and one chapter and all selected Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of your choice. Additional chapters can be added for a fee of $25 each.
  • Professional & Academic Member (Dues – $199.00 [Previously $225.00 in 2017])
    STC’s Professional & Academic(formerly known as Classic) membership category is for the more seasoned professional with four or more years of experience. Those who choose Professional & Academic membership have access to the online versions of Intercom, Technical Communication, STC’s Salary Survey, and other ePublications. They can also take advantage of member-only discounts on all STC educational webinars, online courses, STC’s certification exam, annual conference registration, and corporate partner products and services. The Professional & Academic membership also includes a personalized Education Report Card, and Job Bank and Mentor Board access. Additional communities can be added for a fee.
  • New Professional Member (Dues – $160.00)
    New Professional 
    members receive all Professional & Academic benefits at a discounted rate. To qualify for the Professional membership rate, individuals must have graduated from a college/university within the past three years.
  • Student Member (Dues – $65.00)
    Student 
    members receive all Professional & Academic member benefits, plus one professional chapter, one student chapter, one Academic and one additional Special Interest Group (SIG) membership. To be eligible for student membership, an applicant must be enrolled in an accredited university, college, community college, or technical school; taking at least two courses or the equivalent each term; and preparing for a career in technical communication. Additional communities can be added for a fee.
  • Corporate Value Program
    Does your organization have 5 or more technical writers on staff wanting to join STC? If so, look into our Corporate Value Program (CVP) membership to save on dues for your staff. Click here for details.
  • Retired Member
    Retired membership renewals must be completed by paper form, or by contacting STC offices at (703) 522-4114. Online renewals for retired members is not available. To qualify for retired membership, you must be 65 years of age or older, working 20 hours or less in the field, and be a consecutive member of STC for 10 years or more. For more information about our retiree membership, contact us at membership@stc.org.

Hope to see all of you renewing Orlando Chapter members at our upcoming November and December chapter meetings!

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